Signia’s EuroTrak Digest: Hearing Loss Prevalence
Being best-in-class means more than just offering features like wireless connectivity and direct streaming — it means listening to your consumer base. This year’s EuroTrak findings give us valuable insights on how to do so.
Started in 2009 by the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA), the EuroTrak survey analyses information from thousands of people with hearing loss in several European countries. A large number of these participants also have hearing aids, and their answers to the questionnaire give us a look into the views of hearing aid wearers. Here’s what we gathered from the 2018 EuroTrak survey in France and Germany, Europe’s two largest hearing aid markets.
The Prevalence of Hearing Loss
According to the World Health Organisation, around 466 million people suffer from disabling hearing loss. While this only accounts for 5% of the world’s population, it’s a staggering number. EuroTrak surveyed sample sizes of these people in its study and discovered important information about the prevalence of hearing loss.
The Effects of Hearing Loss
In France, among those who did not use hearing aids, nearly 70% of people with hearing loss were at risk of major depressive disorder. 64% of these people felt physically exhausted at the end of the day, and 54% felt mentally exhausted. In Germany, a striking 91% of those without hearing aids were found to be at risk of depression.
When asked about their quality of sleep, 57% of German participants without hearing aids were dissatisfied with their quality of sleep. Compared to the 35% of hearing aid users that weren’t happy with their sleep, this points towards a correlation.
Previous studies into the effects of hearing loss have turned up similar results. Hearing loss can cause people to feel permanently alert to potential danger, which exhausts them both mentally and physically. This can also affect their sleep, as they might be on-edge while trying to fall asleep.
They also might avoid social situations, which can worsen existing feelings of loneliness and isolation. When all of these effects are combined, it can put serious strain on a hard-of-hearing person. The data collected by EuroTrak shows that those fitted with hearing aids do benefit from them, and fewer of them experience depression and fatigue because of their hearing loss.
Other Health Risks Linked to Hearing Loss
In both the German and French surveys, roughly 30% of participants believe that hearing loss could be linked to depression. Both groups also said that hearing loss may lead to sleeping disorders, with over 20% of respondents connecting the two conditions. 13% to 22% of these people also said that hard of hearing people might be more at risk of high blood pressure.
Interestingly, another portion of these respondents pointed towards hearing loss as a cause of dementia. Many long-term studies have also linked these, as evidence shows that a lack of proper hearing can cause memory loss.
While there is much more research to be done into the conditions caused by hearing loss, the study highlights the opinions of those who live with the condition every day. A large number of them suffer from sleep problems, depression, and fatigue on a daily basis. When put alongside data collected from hearing aid users, it shows that hearing aids have a notable positive effect on their wearers.
Look out for more interesting EuroTrak information regarding the adoption of and wearers’ satisfaction with hearing aids.